Posts Tagged ‘leadership’

Business Drinking: Tips for Behaving and Imbibing, Conclusion

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

It was a great party! That’s the primary thing you want to remember and share after a business event. Whether the annual office Christmas party, the company summer BBQ at the lake, or a corporate-sponsored bash at a conference, all are occasions for drinking, dining and indulging in food and beverage overload. There’s your initial cue for caution — indulging. That’s exactly what you should not be doing at any business-related event — over indulging. Whenever in a professional setting, make a conscious effort to avoid slamming down too many drinks and consuming too much overly rich food because it can result in two negative things: making you physically feel bad and, even worse, making you look bad in front of your professional friends and your boss.

What to do? Enter my five tips I’ve been sharing for drinking yet still displaying best behavior in a business social setting. In my two previous blog installments I provided detail on the first three tips which included: Decrypting the drinking code, Drinking or not, Drinking in degrees and related bad deeds. You’ll want to take another look at the details in the posts immediately preceding this one for super ways to stay ahead of pitfalls which may prevail at corporate parties. Let’s wrap things up with the final two tips now.drinking-bottle-of-brandy

Drinking dilemmas
Even though drinking is deeply ingrained into business socializing it doesn’t mean you have to put up with uncomfortable consumption scenarios. If a manager or associate has liquor issues, this can easily spill into imbibing or intoxication at the office — a huge no-no. What should you do? Avoid the person involved if you can. If it’s your supervisor you have a greater issue. Inappropriate conduct from anyone should be reported to human resources or other reliable workplace authority. Anxieties over negative repercussions for reporting an infraction may put you in a tough spot from all angles. Ask trusted colleagues for input and you’ll likely learn you’re not the first recipient of bad behavior from the involved boss or co-worker. You’ll need to decide the best action to take which may include finding another position as a final option. If you’re the person with the drinking problem, look into your company’s EAP or Employee Assistance Program for help.
Delivering a toast
Part of your competence for business-related drinking should include being prepared to share remarks when called upon, particularly when you’re the host or ranking executive in the room. I’m talking about making a toast. You may be thinking … bah, humbug, what’s the big deal about making a toast? Hold onto your beer-induced babble because it is a big deal. Here’s why. A well-structured and eloquently delivered toast can set the tone for an extremely successful event as well as punctuate appreciation for those attending. In fact, the speaking club, Toastmasters International, has a set of tips and techniques focused on creating and sharing the perfect toast. Yeah, they do. Make a point to put quality time into preparing a high caliber toast which complements the gratitude you have for your high value guests.

Sharing food and drink as part of celebration and collaboration have been part of the essence and energy of creating corporate connections since the beginning of business itself. Like the sizzle with a steak, the alcohol aspect of partying plays a special role in how well a gathering is experienced. Use the above tips to responsibly make the most of your industry’s drinking culture and help you avoid the pitfalls of over indulging with liquor and your expense account. Don’t be like a kid in a candy store when it comes to the open bar at the office-sponsored party. Instead, be the judicious participant who is knowingly munching on morsels and consuming cocktails at a well-paced rate which is best for you. Since the biggest line at most conferences is at the bar, enjoy your next event and escape the lengthy queue for drinks by picking up a plate before you partake in a beverage. You’ll have a great time and the bar will still be there after the long line is gone. *

*excerpted in part and reprinted from Mary Elston management column with permission from Soundings Publications, LLC.

Entrepreneurs are Everywhere and Possess Similar Traits, Conclusion

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

Going to work each day brings with it a series of events and experiences either mundane, mildly momentous or moving toward magnificent.Of course difficult days can be the opposite of these ranging from mediocre to complete mayhem. For the entrepreneur, these experiences can aggregate into what eventually becomes success or failure, including rejection and other missteps along the way, as well as momentary epiphanies and exultations when results exceed expectations. So it also goes with regards to both ends of the spectrum and our ongoing discussion of what traits an entrepreneur must have to survive – six of them. We’ve already covered the first three: 1) No requirement for previous experience but must have ability to pull in experts to balance this out, 2) Common sense plus willingness to break rules, 3) Knack for taking risks. You’ll want to read the details for each of these in my previous post. Let’s take on the last three characteristics now, keeping in mind the extremes I just mentioned — mundane or magnificent, success or failure – are scenarios the entrepreneur will most assuredly face and need to navigate to come out on top. ENTREPRENEUR mistakes

4. They Learn From Their Mistakes — Balancing the other side of cocky confidence, entrepreneurs must be humble enough to learn from their experience and failure. Not surprisingly, overconfidence can be a liability that muddles judgement, creates a misconception of control and can lead to lousy decisions. They must learn from their mistakes and – I’ll add — take into account input from others when crucial decisions are being made.

5. They Have the Passion to Persist – I pointed at passion earlier and there are plenty of studies to promote discussing it further. According to researchers at the University of Maryland, passion is a critical ingredient in growing a new, profitable organization, period. Passion ignites inspiration, endorses the dream and deep commitment to purpose which keeps industrialists forging forward and breaking through barriers. Think tenacity combined with “love what you do and love doing it.”ENTREPRENEUR passion work

6. They Are Resilient in the Face of Failure — Resilience rounds out the list. To move forward passionate entrepreneurs must rebound from unexpected challenges and failures, learning from their mistakes and rebuilding. Examples are everywhere – consider Thomas Edison’s 10,000 tries needed to invent the light bulb or the rise and fall and rise again of Steve Jobs. Resilience is not letting failure define you but leveraging lessons which failure provides as an opportunity for a fresh approach.

Our entrepreneurial conversation began with my recounting a breakfast meeting I had with a former colleague who was thinking about starting his own business. Does my friend with the entrepreneurial flame burning inside his belly (it wasn’t the coffee) have what it takes to start his own venture? I believe he does. He’s highly knowledgeable and is carefully gauging what’s necessary to find success glowing and growing like an aspiring sunrise. His vision, passion and expertise are huge, his risk taking is relevant and rational. Good at breaking rules, he owns his mistakes. Hard work is part of his genetic profile, along with incredible resilience. Finally – if he was ever the last kid picked when dodge ball teams were divvied up he always showed up the next day to play again. That alone is massive. How about you? Is becoming an entrepreneur part of your future fortune? Are you ready to find out? Begin with an honest, self-assessment on the above traits then call up a business savvy friend or two and plan on meeting for breakfast.

Side note …Have you ever actually made the entrepreneurial leap? If you have, write to me and let me know what it took to get you to where you are today — your expertise, risks taken, passion pursued — it would be super to hear your experience first hand. My hat’s off to all business owners who forged ahead, dodged the failure bullet and made it work — well done!*

*excerpted in part and reprinted from Mary Elston management column with permission from Soundings Publications, LLC.

Entrepreneurs are Everywhere and Possess Similar Traits, Continued

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

It’s the guy who fixed my sprinkler system, the man who built the custom covers for my window wells and the woman who cuts my hair. What do they all have in common? They’re all entrepreneurs. While selected industrialists started small and became big businesses over many years’ time (think Silicon Valley), others stayed small and were able to earn a satisfying income to support themselves and their family (like your favorite, local pizza place). ENTREPRENEUR sprinkler Either way, they had similar traits like the ones we’re about to explore. As mentioned in my last post, a friend of mine is thinking of striking out and starting his own enterprise. We conducted a back of the envelope assessment to see if he had what it takes to make it work – including a look at Fast Company’s concise checklist for capitalists, as provided in their article: Six Traits Successful Entrepreneurs All Share (, by Khatera Sahibzada and Rob Bueschen, July 23, 2015). Let’s jump in ….

1. Many Don’t Have Prior Experience
– Few top entrepreneurs were experts in their fields when they first started their ventures, but they did have a great idea propelling them ahead. Turns out, up to half of all startup founders knew nothing about what they were getting into. Hang on — don’t run wildly out of control just yet. Along with their idea, they also had the ability to pull in experts needed to produce a product or service which had market promise. ENTREPRENEUR man idea

2. They Have Both Common Sense and a Willingness to Break Rules
– Since expertise isn’t essential per above, what is? Entrepreneurs must have experience-based skills and knowledge along with the ability to use knowledge and common sense to solve problems. This validates practical intelligence as a critical component for success – in essence, having strong business aptitude and real-world know-how to apply it. But being smart is only a start. Researchers at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and the London School of Economics found flourishing industrialists often got into trouble as teenagers – breaking the rules, taking things by force, challenging the status quo as opposed to accepting what they were told (per Ross Levine who co-authored the study).

3. They Have A Knack For Taking Risks — While you might expect risk-taking to be a factor, the Berkeley-LSE study found entrepreneurs are less driven by a love of risk-taking than by an aversion to losing. Loss aversion was defined as losing one’s salary and prestige at a full-time job. The bigger the loss aversion the more effort was put into succeeding. Along with hating to lose they love to project confidence – both general and task-specific — in the face of risk. A blend of the two confidences is a strong success indicator as enterprise leaders need to address the unknown with the belief they can turn an idea and related vision into pervasive value despite the hurdles involved.

Time to start contemplating …. Do you have a tendency for talent in the initial three traits? More specifically, what’s your risk taking tolerance? Be honest with yourself and open minded as well. Have you tried to start your own business in the past? How did it go? Are you still in business today? Write to me and let me know if you fit the descriptors just discussed. We’ll talk more when I cover the final three factors next time around … see you then. *

*excerpted in part and reprinted from Mary Elston management column with permission from Soundings Publications, LLC.